Starting the school year is a lot like being handed a clean slate, especially for anyone heading to a new school. If you have a child in that situation, consider explaining that this is an opportunity for making good friends, earning respect and establishing sound habits.
If your kiddo is a newbie, chances are no one knows whether he or she had been shy or outgoing, or a model citizen – or not so much. A new school is an opportunity for kids to make fresh starts within the constructs of who they are and how they want to be seen. Finding a supportive way to point out to your child that no one knows he or she fell off the stage at last year’s holiday pageant can go a long way in confidence-building. But even going back to the same school – or progressing grades with kids they already know – is a chance to start again. And every kid deserves to be reminded of it.
If you have concerns about your child’s social or organizational skills, mention it to the teacher early on. A lot can be done at school to help children build better habits or warm up to other kids. An email sent the first week or two after school starts, introducing yourself to the teacher and voicing your concerns, is a good idea. If it’s middle or high school, reach out to the guidance counselor. In the meantime, help where you can.
Some suggestions on backpacks:
Have your children dump all their backpack contents on their bed. Teach them to categorize supplies and belongings into biggies like books, folders and notebooks; personal items like lip balm and tissues; and smaller essentials like pencils and pens.
Buy your kiddo a pencil bag or change purse and encourage them to put it in the same place within his or her backpack every time. Making use of the backpack’s inner pockets consistently prevents everything from plummeting down to the depths where it’s harder to find when needed. And knowing your child isn’t lugging around unneeded items can help alleviate your concerns about undue back and shoulder stress.
Good luck this school year to you and your kids. May every slate be clean!